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Brief Published: 25 Apr 2014

Social TV – Fad or the Future?


A new study by the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence suggests that the way Americans watch TV is less social media-engaged than entertainment companies and advertisers previously thought.  

Participants in the study were asked to log their social media interaction during a new-season line-up of debut and returning TV shows.

Results revealed only 16.1% of respondents actually used social media while watching, and fewer than half of those engaged on social media talked about the show itself. Figures suggest that while Facebook was leading Twitter in popularity of use (11.4% and 3.3% respectively), second-screen engagement is not nearly as dazzling for marketers and media companies as suggested by the social media giants.

Is it still early days for social media-driven TV engagement, or will this behaviour never go mainstream? Brands as influential as the BBC and HBO continue to experiment with second-screen initiatives, but simplicity and utility remain key.

This is something Shazam understands. The music tagging service, with a user experience that revolves around one single button on your phone, is now moving into TV tagging. This month Apple partnered with Shazam to integrate its song-identification features into iOS 8. The partnership could extend beyond music to TV, movies and more, enabling Apple to deliver a much more personalised entertainment experience to users, and greater consumer insight to advertisers.

For more on second-screen use and personalisation in entertainment and media, see our reports Next-Gen Audience Tracking, TV’s Digital-First Future and Big Ideas From Social Media Week.